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Clinton harsh on Myanmar, but spare (r)
Subject: Re: Clinton harsh on Myanmar, but spares China (The Hindu, 29/11/96.)
> From: "FTUB (WB)" <aungsan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Clinton harsh on Myanmar, but spares China (The Hindu, 29/11/96.)
> Clinton harsh on Myanmar, but spares China
> The Hindu, 29/11/96.
> >From Sridhar Krishnaswami
> WASHINGTON, Nov. 28.
> After nearly two weeks of foreign policy in the Asia Pacific, the
> U.S. President, Mr. Bill Clinton, comes home to the
> Thanksgiving holiday knowing well that when the weekend is
> over it will be back to pending business. The three-nation Asia
> Pacific trip of the President that ended with a high-profile
> reception in Thailand did not contain any surprises on the
> foreign policy administration seen as waffling about its role in
> the region. Washington says it is firmly engaged for the
> foreseeable future.
> It is somewhat odd that Mr. Clinton sought to attack Myanmar
> for its track record on human rights and democracy as well as
> over narcotics during his visit to Thailand. While this would
> undoubtedly be welcomed in human rights quarters, many
> would be puzzled that the American President who had such
> harsh words for the junta in Yangon had very little to say to the
> Chinese President, Mr. Jiang Zemin, when they met in Manila a
> few days earlier. Mr. Clinton's observations about the absence
> of the rule of law in Myanmar is once again a grim reminder of
> the patent double standards in the pursuit of national interests.
> The foreign policy line is quite simple: protection of American
> economic interests in a part of the world bristling with
> economic activity. If Mr. Clinton had the luxury of lashing out
> at the junta in Yangon, that is because America-based
> multinational corporations have either exhausted their options in
> this small South East Asian. country or come to the conclusion
> that Myanmar is too small a pick compared to China.
> As for Myanmar and Vietnam, the- U.S. administration should
> have taken a leaf out of the strategic vision notebook of South
> East Asia. Although the capitals of South East Asia would not
> say so, their intent to accommodate Vietnam and Myanmar has
> to do with China; in other words, their fear of pushing
> Myanmar further into the hands of the Chinese.
> The so-called American logic of using trade and economic
> contacts to promote an easing of the political environment stops
> with China and for some 'unexplained' reason the same
> yardstick cannot be used with Yangon where economic
> sanctions are seen as the only option. Countries like japan have
> long been wary of Yangon's special ties with Beijing, and aside
> from the apprehension of Myanmar being turned into an
> extended Chinese lake they are worried about the future of
> shipping lanes in and around the Coco Islands in the Andamans.
> Mr. Clinton's Asia Pacific trip has been primarily seen in the
> context of Ins fourth meeting with the President of China, the
> things that have been said in public and what may have
> transpired in the meetings of the President and other senior
> officials of the administration with their counterparts from
> In the midst of all the economic dynamism of South East Asia,
> the fact remains that critical political changes are taking place.
> While these changes do not have to add up to Western notions
> of democracy and human rights, it is obvious that political
> movements in that part of the world point to major changes in
> the way politics could be defined and conducted in the years to
> come. Indonesia is one of those countries which has kept the
> region and the world guessing as to whether it will be settling
> for one more five year term for its President Mr. Suharto and
> the extent to which the Government in Jakarta would permit an
> expanded civilian role in the political system. As a critical
> player economically and strategically, political uncertainty in
> Indonesia does not augur well for South-East Asia or for
> American interests in the Asia Pacific.
> Please don't send me any political letter. Thanks